Wednesday, 19 September 2007

02: Thérèse and Teresa

You probably heard about this new book that came out on the 4th of September.. letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta ("Come be my light"). In these letters we find that she lived the last 50 years of her life with feelings of the absence of God etc.

Immediately, many people, and amongst them even big names in the Catholic Church said: this is a "dark night", referring to the book of saint John of the Cross holding the same name ("The dark night"), alluding to its contents.
Some others, amongst them the Postulator of her cause in the Vatican Rev Brian K., say: this is a different issue, it is not a purification (night=purification) it is a participation to the Passion of the Lord. Of course, this position is much better than the first one.

But no one seems to understand all together the nonsense and the catastrophic aspect of the first opinion! In fact we can't state that M. Teresa is a saint and say: she spent all her life being purified! It is complete nonsense! Lack of serious knowledge and amateurism!

The funny thing is that we had the same problem with saint Thérèse of Lisieux (saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus). She had 18 months of such a mysterious trial, and we had theologians who commented and wrote about it saying: this is a purification, this is the "Dark night of the spirit" as saint John of the Cross describes it. The history repeats itself for a second time, in few years!

This demonstrates, that such an elementary thing in "Spiritual Theology", is not known by even theologians. If is shows something, it shows how urgent it is to help this Science (spiritual theology) to grow and develop, in order to let not only the people of God grow in knowledge and wisdom in order to have a stronger spiritual life, but also to help the basic theologians to know basic theology!
What is the point of knowing Bible, Dogma etc… and not knowing Spiritual life?!! In the end of the day, what is useful it’s the Science that leads you to know better God, to receive him in fullness, and grow.
I am not saying Dogma, Bible etc… are not of importance, not at all! I am just saying: when one studies such a wide topic as Theology, one has to see how the different sub-topics are organised, what are the links, what leads to what!

It has been courageous from the part of the Rev. Brian K. to publish these letters of Mother Teresa to her spiritual directors, but are we ready to read them? Are we ready to receive them as one of the most precious gifts we ever had from 100 years or so? This is the real issue. Let us work, study, and help this Science ("Spiritual Theology") to grow amongst us. It is the most thrilling Science that can exist, and the most useful one! And now, the most neglected one! Why? No real reason!

Monday, 17 September 2007

01: Let me explain the vision

"Mysticism", "spirituality", "spiritual theology" are the same Science. This latter is at the service of our spiritual life and its growth.
This science is fundamental for every human being. Many sciences in life are optional, we don't need to learn everything. This one is of a very practical use, it helps us know what God wants to achieve, the different stages of the growth and how to respond to God, in order to collaborate with the Holy Spirit, not to loose time and energy.
There are 2 goals to reach:
1- the first one is the Union with God (the middle age of our spiritual journey) which can be named also: "spiritual marriage", or "acquisition of the Holy Spirit"; and
2- the second is the fullness of Charity.

"Spiritual theology" shows us the means to reach these goals.

"Spiritual theology" is also the name of the Faculty that develops, explains, presents, and make research in the relationship between God and the human being that let him reach the maximum of his spiritual development.

We have a small idea of this Science in the fourth part of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" that is dedicated to spiritual life, "prayer", and the explanation of the Prayer of the Lord.

The three other parts of the Catechism are: 1- the Creed (what do we believe in), 2- the Celebration of that Faith (the Mass, the Sacraments etc..), 3- the Commandments.
This fourth part of the Catechism ("how to pray") is the living source of the 3 others because it allows us to connect directly with God. In fact it is the most vital and decisive teaching for our lives here on earth. Therefore we need to become experts and well formed in this matter, in this science.

In a way, we can say that this is the only mandatory science we need to learn on earth: "how to love God with all our heart and all our energy". The rest comes after and often is "optional".

Unfortunately, this topic/science is today still very poorly known, exposed and taught.
Therefore we need to act, to react, and do something to revive it. This is my vision. We can't just sit down and wait until things get done. We need to do them.
We have 2000 years of Treasures very often buried under the sand, and we need to act together in order to retrieve from the sand that Wisdom, and use it.

We need to study these texts, and make them alive. They teach us how to read the Bible in a fruitful way.

Today, our generation can be considered as the foundation of the future generations. After many cultural changes in society, mainly after the second world war, the threat for us is not to be able anymore to understand the Wisdom left in our hands, the books that we have. The mentalities now are very different, the language, the philosophy etc… The books become like sealed and we can't understand them.

Our duty is to study them, digest them, and transmit them in a "readable" way to the next generation.
This work requires a lot of work and skill. We need to constitute what can be called a "body of doctrine", a substantial contents of teaching in "spiritual theology".
This work is urgent. It is the actual task and it can't be dismissed. It has to be realised before any other work, because it is the foundations on which other generations can built their life, activities, and pastoral life (spiritual life).
We need to dedicate all our energy in building this "corpus doctrinae" ("body of doctrine" in latin) of spiritual life.We need of course to do it according to the common Living Tradition of the Eastern and Western church. The Pope John Paul II said: "we need to breath with both lungs" (Western and Eastern Living Tradition of the Church).

Peter and Andrew, West and East